9.0 Can I use a fountain pen in an airplane?
There is a rumor that all fountain pens leak in airplanes due the air pressure
changes. The theory is that air expands when planes gain altitude, and that extra
air in a pen's ink path may tend to force ink out the nib, so you should
travel with pens that are either completely full or completely empty. At least,
that's the theory.
I used to travel by air a lot (actually, much more than I wanted to - sometimes
2-3 trips a month), and always had a fountain pen in my shirt pocket. I have traveled
with a Visconti Copernicus, Parker Duofold Centennial, Pelikan 800, Sheaffer Balance,
Stipula I Castoni, and others, and without exception, none of these pens has ever
leaked in my pocket whether completely full or partly empty. Those that I have
kept in my luggage or carry-on have never leaked either. Maybe I live a charmed
I recently gave my brother a Rotring Initial. This pen is advertised as being
designed for use on an airplane. He has used it on several trips, and said that
it does indeed work properly while in flight.
Play it safe. Put your pens into a zip lock bag and carry them in your briefcase
or carry-on. Keep your pocket pen in a cigar tube. And always keep your pocket
pens nib up. You should be fine.